The ubiquitous bathroom is the most dangerous part of both the home as well as the hospital, to just about everyone suffering from any sort of physical disability. The key reason for that is the fact that moving around on a slippery tiled surface (that has been made even more slippery with water) is a recipe for disaster. Add to that the fact that there is very little room to manoeuvre in such a cramped and small surface.
Moreover, a fall on an extremely hard and unforgiving surface for someone already suffering from a physical disability that has impaired his or her motor functions, may well lead to extremely serious (and sometimes even fatal) consequences.
People who have suffered spinal cord injuries, along with stroke survivors, suffering from (partial or full paralysis) require a whole lot of help before they can utilize the washroom for their day to day needs. However, there is help for such people, due to the many different devices available in the market for independent bathroom use. These devices make it a whole lot easier for such people to use the sink, the bath, or even the toilet.
However, it should be kept in mind that the installation of such devices does not mean that the patient should be left unsupervised; to best make his or her way into the washroom, irrespective of the equipment installed therein. His or her doctor and physical therapists should first provide all necessary training regarding the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of washroom use to both the patient, as well as his or her family members.
Moreover, such equipment does not need be highly customised, but anything as simple as a non slip mat should be fixed as a priority. Small things like ‘grip bars’ fitted next to the bathing area, as well as the commode, may help the invalid patient get up and make his way around with minimal fear of falling down and suffering from fractures, or worse. In some cases however, it might be important to have fully-customised bathrooms installed in place of old ones. If such is the case, then talking to expert disabled bathroom installers could become a priority. They can adopt any design or layout for the bathrooms depending on the patient’s needs. As some people may need specialized chairs, bath lifts, walk-in showers, and more to be able to use the bathroom without hassle or harm, the importance of meeting all of their needs cannot be stressed enough.
Additionally, other specialized toilet devices such as a bench tub (so that the patient can take a bath without having to lie down), walkin baths specially designed for the disabled with mobile watertight door, or a toilet chair may also be installed, as and when required. There could also be more customized products available in the market. You can do thorough research on such products and purchase them depending on your requirements.
Another point to keep in mind when the specialised needs of a physically disabled patient are concerned is the fact that the bathroom must ‘not’ have any sharp or jagged edges. Glass toiletry shelves should be replaced with flexible plastic ones, (if not dispensed with completely). Similarly, any cracked and broken tiles should be repaired post haste, lest a fall should potentially lead to cuts and abrasions. Whenever possible, towels should be used to cover up all sharp places such as counter tops and sink edges till the same have been replaced. Moreover, the locks on the doors should either be removed altogether, or at the very least they should be of a sort that may be easily and quickly opened in case of an emergency.
Using the above mentioned tips may help save many a patient’s life in both the home as well as the hospital.